My son, who is straight, recently started working in a gay bar, and he is very annoyed at the way everyone there just assumes he's gay. He hasn't been there long, and he's thinking of quitting. Why can't a man work in a gay bar without everyone thinking he's gay? Concerned Mama.
Actually these days many gay bars seem to have straight -- or at least straight-identified -- employees, so obviously the managers of these establishments don't always have an aversion to hiring straight people. I do have to say if a straight man finds it uncomfortable working in a gay environment -- as your son seems to -- then, frankly, he shouldn't work in a gay bar. It troubles me that you seem to think it's the fault of the customers -- you don't state this outright but it's tacit in what you say -- but the fact remains that most of the bartenders in gay bars are gay, so most people who go into the bar will assume your son is homosexual as well. If you're honest, isn't your son more likely to be concerned that his straight friends outside the bar will think he's gay once they find out where he's working? If this is a problem for him, he should move on. And if you're totally honest with yourself, isn't your chief concern not that your son may be uncomfortable but that the customers may be right? (There is nothing wrong with being gay!)
First of all, I don't know if your son is really straight (and neither do you, to be blunt) because many of the straight-identified bartenders in gay bars are working through their sexual identity issues, enjoying an open and free gay environment until they can finally get past their personal hang ups and "stand up and be counted" as gay along with everyone else. Many gay people can't understand why a straight guy, no matter how gay-friendly he may think he is, wouldn't prefer to work in a straight bar where he wouldn't have to worry about what people think of his sexuality and could meet plenty of "babes" of the opposite sex.
Your son could be genuinely hetero, I suppose, but if he really hates that everyone thinks he's gay -- a homophobic reaction in my opinion, considering it's an environment where people are not "punished" for being gay -- then he has no business working in a gay bar. It takes a very secure, very open-minded, very liberal, very special kind of straight guy to work in a gay bar, and I really don't know if there are many of them around, even today.